New Cambridge Bar Brings A Taste Of The Tropics To The City

Cambridge’s Kendall Square is certainly beautiful in its own right, but it is a far cry from a tropical, beachfront oasis. In order to bring a bit of that easy, island vibe to the city, the folks behind Mamaleh’s, the hipster Jewish delicatessen, and State Park, the not-so-dive-y dive bar have created their latest venture, The Bar by the Elevator.

The concept springs from the hundreds of tiny tropical bars that dot the beaches of Carribbean island getaways. The website describes it as:

“All the things you’d want if you were shipwrecked on an island. In the middle of a city. And next to an elevator.”

The Bar by the Elevator opened Tuesday May 16 on the patio of 1 Kendall Square, where the glaring empty area “by the elevator” was just crying out for inspiration. Evan Harrison, co-owner and bartender at The Bar, says the name was a convenient shorthand used by the team as they worked on the project. Apparently it stuck!

“Out of shipping pallets, a broken vent, and a bunch of bushel boxes, we built what we consider to be a pretty sweet tiki bar,” Harrison told as he described the space’s signature centerpiece.”

Started construction today in the sweet, shady, comfort of this beautiful elevator shaft.

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Instead of Red Stripe, The Bar’s one and only draft beer is the New England summer favorite, Del’s Shandy by Narraganset Beer. They also serve two canned beers – Notch Left of the Dial IPA and Jack’s Abby House Lager, one wine option – Bridge Lane’s Cabernet Franc – a draft rosé, and sangria by the glass.

There are only two permanent cocktails on the menu, but both are sufficiently tropical in keeping with the theme. The Painkiller consists of Navy rum, pineapple, coconut, and nutmeg; and Planteur’s Punch is made with Rhum Agricole, guava, passion fruit, and bitters.

We out here.

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The non-alcoholic options are refreshing and original, with ginger beer and flavored seltzers available now, and plans to introduce Mamaleh’s extensive list of house-made sodas by summertime.

Should you find your stomach growling during your visit to The Bar by the Elevator, your choices will be reminiscent of a backyard cookout – hot dogs, potato salad, chips, cole slaw, and fried chicken skins, but more menu items are pending.


“What’s cool about this project for us is that we’re not trying to reel people in for a full dinner or anything too committal,” Harrison said. “I think half the people who came by [during our opening Tuesday] were headed someplace else and were like, ‘Oh cool! Let’s grab a drink!’ … It’s sort of a lighthearted, casual approach.”

Much like the tropical bars it is modeled after, The Bar by the Elevator does not offer table service. When you’re ready for a refill, you will have to head up to the bar and place your order. Seating consists of backless benches, lawn chairs, and high-top bar tables.

Best of all (in my opinion, anyway) – since The Bar by the Elevator is located on an outdoor patio, it is pet friendly! So pack up your pups, grab a few friends and head on over for a taste of the tropics in the heart of the city!

Eye on the prize. Open at 4pm today.

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Harrison said The Bar will likely be a warm weather venture that shuts down during the colder months, but he and his fellow co-owners have not ruled out utilizing the space for creative pop-ups.

“There’s plenty of options around our area that can scratch pretty much any itch,” he said. “But I think in New England, we only have this short time of warmer months that will draw people to us.”

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